The New Calvinism: Areas of Weakness

Some weaknesses in the movement known as The New Calvinism

But it is not too early for us to consider and determine how that history may be written. If New Calvinism is simply a trend, a movement, or a marketing machine then by all means, let’s let it die. But if New Calvinism really does represent doctrine that the Bible makes plain, if it really does represent a movement of people who are committed to glorifying God by living for the good of others, then let’s be sure we are rejoicing at what God has done, that we are thanking him for every evidence of his grace, and that we are looking for and addressing every potential weakness.


The New Calvinism has become a worldwide movement of Christians who are looking to the past to recover and live out the precious truths of Reformed theology. Having introduced the movement and having identified some ways in which we see evidences of God’s grace in and through it, I am now suggesting some weaknesses it may do well to address.

It is a joy, a privilege, and a responsibility to look carefully to see where God is at work, to acknowledge it, and to thank him for these evidences of his grace. Of course it’s also a responsibility to look carefully to see where we may be neglecting or interfering with the work God means to do. In my last video I pointed out 6 evidences of God’s grace in and through New Calvinism. Today I want to turn to some of the movement‘s weaknesses to suggest areas we may do well to consider and address.

  1. The Danger of Trendiness

There was a time, and it really wasn’t long ago, when very few people held to Reformed theology, when very few significant churches or ministries held to it. But then we come to today and find a whole host of big ministries and megachurches that are distinctly Reformed. Reformed conferences are at full capacity. Reformed seminaries are bursting at the seams. This is a very different era! Now, this mainstreaming of New Calvinism could point to a permanent shift within wider Evangelicalism. But, it could point to the existence of a trend or a fad. We won’t know until the next thing comes along. At some point Reformed theology will no longer be celebrated. Eventually books and conferences will insist that there is something newer, something better, something purer, and something with greater promise. At that time we will learn how many of us are trend-followers and how many really are committed to Reformed truth. That means today is the time for individuals, churches, and ministries to ensure they truly are committed to biblical truth as it is defined by Reformed theology and not just riding a wave.

  1. The Danger of Celebrityism

Any movement is led by leaders—it is obvious and unavoidable. Eventually, though, a movement needs to question the place of its leaders and consider what the movement would be without them. Just as New Calvinists need to consider whether they are simply following the latest, coolest trend, they also need to consider whether they are simply following today’s trend-setters and today’s exciting leaders. New Calvinism has already committed a few big gaffes in relation to celebrity, handing position and influence to church and ministry leaders who quickly proved themselves unworthy of it. Each of us needs to ask whether we are merely following along behind exciting and dynamic leaders, or if we really understand and believe and hold to these theological convictions.

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